Chad Myers Photograph

Las Vegas , Nevada

Vegas. Las Vegas. Feels more like "Lost" Vegas, at times. Wouldn't trade it for nothin'.

First time I saw her lights, I'll never forget. Rolling down the interstate, "The Big 1-5"; we came up over a hill at about 5 AM, pushing that decrepit Dodge van harder than the carriage bolts' limit would allow. Man, the cityscape was beautiful. Thousands of lights...everywhere, glowing like you wouldn't believe. Such a neon feeling makes your spine tingle. Quoting the folk singer, Ani Difranco, "...warm murder on the ice spasms..." that's the feeling. Say it to yourself, out loud. You know your arm and neck hair are standing on end. A crazy sense of sensation. Not just feeling; sensation and experience.

Las Vegas is definitely the City That Never Sleeps. That goes for more that just the infamous Strip. The whole city of Vegas is literally so lit up, that given to tides of enough inebriation, you would never know whether it was dusk, dawn, today, tomorrow; you just wouldn't know.

Vegas is a Trip. Not just a trip, as in "pack your bags, get on the plane, fly out, land, pony up to the hotel bar, gamble, drink (heavily, why not, it don't cost nothin'!) gamble more, gamble a little more, pack your bags, gamble some more, catch a cab to McCarran, fly home" trip, but a whole other trip. Vegas is a perpetual city of involvement. No matter what your likes or dislikes, it's all here. One party package with directions to open carefully. Once it's open, you better be ready to live life or lose your mind, maybe a little of both. You are the only one who can make that choice. It's all about choices. Nothing is fated in Vegas. Nothing.

Let's start with the airport, for beginners. McCarran International Airport (LAS) is part of the Clark County Airport System which owns and operates six airports, including five general aviation airports. LAS was the 7th busiest airport in North America, and 11th in the world in 2001. LAS also flew more that 35 million people in 2002! 35 million people! That's a lot of partiers, not saying all 35 mil were, but I bet a large chunk didn't know their names the night before the left, or the day after they got there! Not to mention, McCarran is only about five minutes from The Strip, so you know you'll be wasting no time in transit.

The Strip. That's Las Vegas Blvd for those that have been around awhile. We're talking about a 5 mile stretch with over 40 casinos. Pick your poison. Don't just pick it, swim in it. Enough said, now put up or shut up.

How about some seedy underworld nightlife? Spark an interest? Try Industrial Road; also know as, Industrial "high"-way. This is where you'll find the cream of the crop for Gentlemen's Clubs. Sure, you can find what you want not far from The Strip, if you ask the locals; nevertheless, this is where they get down and dirty. From the Crazy Horse, Too, to Spearmint Rhino's you'll find whatever your heart (and wallet) desires. Wild J's, The Can Can Room, Déjà vu Showgirls...it's all there, one right after another. A few are totally nude, most are topless. Remember, totally nude = no alcohol (excluding Palimino's). Topless is the way to travel, more enticing. Trust me...I've seen the strange road, travel in packs around here-never alone.

Need something to clear your mind? Not drugs, dumb ass, life...Las Vegas is focally-centered in a valley. No matter which way you travel you are bound for some beautiful mountains and hills. Some touches of Navajo-style buttes to the southeast and beautiful red rock terrain on the northern side. I've driven through from the southeast to the northwest and found that the most access for hiking and climbing can be granted on the north side. Anyone can park in designated areas and hike some desert trails up to the mountains, but it is best if you find a camping area with access to some light (no gear) climbing. This is the most fun. Climbing over a few boulders and scaling a few short faces, then hiking your legs up an incline to rest your bottom on the top. Crazy views. Awesome, crazy views. Keep your wits about you, there are Rangers and strangers, and you would much rather be friendly with the Rangers. There is usually no one keeping watch, so it is always best to travel with friends, and bring plenty of water. When you think you've brought enough, bring more...and trail mix, always a good combo. Don't forget, "pack out what you pack in", don't leave your litter for Nature, She doesn't like it any more than you do.

Las Vegas is a place to visit and remember. The Strip is not the only thing to Vegas, it is definitely a large part, but beyond that, there is more to see and do. When going to gamble and party and have a good time, I would spend about three or four days on Las Vegas Boulevard, but if you want some nice relaxation and peaceful views, you could spend two or three weeks just taking it all in. There is plenty to do and even more to see, take your time...visit for a page or two, or stay for a chapter.

May the wind be at your back, and the sands under your feet.

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